Karunaratne impresses amid Australian collapse as Sri Lanka level ODI series

By Sports Desk June 16, 2022

Sri Lanka produced a scintillating display with the ball to level up the ODI series against Australia, with the tourists bowled out for 189 at the end of a frustrating rain-interrupted contest in Kandy.

Chamika Karunaratne (3-47) claimed three wickets after the impressive Dhananjaya de Silva (2-26) had sent both Aaron Finch (14) and David Warner (37) packing when play resumed after a rain stoppage reduced the match to a 43-over contest.

That meant Pat Cummins' (4-25) earlier heroics with the ball counted for nought, as Australia failed to follow Tuesday's thrilling run chase with another victory.

Australia had started well after Finch won the toss, with Matthew Kuhnemann dismissing Pathum Nissanka for 14, which was swiftly followed by Cummins sending Danushka Gunathilaka (18) and De Silva packing (34).

Tuesday's hero Glenn Maxwell (2-35) contributed on the bowling front this time around as he dealt with Kusal Mendis (36) and Charith Asalanka (13).

That saw Sri Lanka stumble to 220-9 before the rain stoppage, but the hosts were a different animal in the field after play resumed.

De Silva got the ball rolling with the dismissals of Finch and Warner, before Maheesh Theekshana's catch off Steve Smith (28) saw the tide turn decisively in the hosts' favour.

After Travis Head (23) and Marnus Labuschagne (18) succumbed to Dunith Wellalage (2-25), each of Maxwell (30), Alex Carey (15), Cummins (4), Mitchell Swepson (2) and Kuhnemann (1) fell during a disappointing three-over collapse.

Home attack comes good  

After failing to see off the outstanding Maxwell at the tail end of another rain-interrupted contest on Tuesday, the Sri Lankan attack was a different beast this time around, with De Silva wrecking the tourists' top order before Karunaratne took charge.

Karunaratne had been questioned after failing to take a single wicket in the series opener, but showed his quality with a crucial three-wicket haul.

Cummins brilliance counts for nought 

Another man who struggled with the ball on Tuesday but came good in the second ODI was Australia's Cummins, whose four wickets included two of the hosts' top four batsmen and saw Sri Lanka set a seemingly weak target of 220.

However, it counted for nothing as Australia were desperately poor after taking up the bat, Warner top-scoring with just 37 during a demoralising defeat.

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